In the four or so years since Elon Musk first revealed his Hyperloop concept, it was kind of assumed that the serial entrepreneur was simply too busy to take on the project himself. He hasn't had enough of starting new companies, but he has had enough of waiting around, with reports indicating the South African billionaire is moving full steam ahead with a Hyperloop of his own.
Since the Hyperloop was first revealed as an open-source design in a 2013 white paper, various startups have set out to build the futuristic transport system. And some are making serious progress, building shiny new facilities, forging agreements with governments around the world, and testing full-scale passenger pods.
And now it seems Musk himself is throwing his hat in the ring. For people following the progress of his new tunnelling venture The Boring Company, this mightn't come as that much of a surprise. Just last month he claimed to have received approval from the federal government to go ahead with Hyperloop system between New York and Washington DC.
More than a few questions remain around that particular claim, but according to statements given to both Bloomberg and CNET, there can be little doubt that The Boring Company is throwing its hat into the Hyperloop ring.
"At the Boring Company, we plan to build low cost, fast-to-dig tunnels that will house new high-speed transportation systems," reads the statement published by CNET. "Most will be standard pressurized tunnels with electric skates going 125+ mph. For long distance routes in straight lines, such as NY to DC, it will make sense to use pressurized pods in a depressurized tunnel to allow speeds up to approximately 600+ mph (aka Hyperloop)."
This Hyperloop tube would require digging the longest tunnel the world has ever seen, stretching some 328 km (203 mi) between New York and Washington. This would require some huge leaps in technology, but that is the exact purpose of The Boring Company, which aims to cut tunnelling costs by a factor of more than 10 and significantly speed things up.
Speaking of speeding things up, The Boring Company acknowledges the advances made by the aforementioned Hyperloop startups, but seems pretty intent on getting the ball rolling itself.
"While we're encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible," it said in a statement to Bloomberg. "We encourage and support all companies that wish to build Hyperloops and we don't intend to stop them from using the Hyperloop name as long as they are truthful."
It's hard to know what it means by "truthful." But one thing's for sure, in the race to build this high-speed transport system there'll now be a few folks looking over their shoulders.